Parents sometimes report that taking their child to see a psychologist can make them feel guilty, worried and anxious. This is perfectly normal – as parents we are programmed to worry about them and to want the best for them. Meet with the psychologist, discuss your concerns, and work in partnership to reduce the problems your child is experiencing. Remember, helping your child be the best they can be is what good parenting is all about.
There are many reasons parents bring their children to psychologists, some of these may be:
- The child is shy and anxious or clingy and tearful
- Your child may have experienced a difficult event such as an accident or a death
- They are acting out, rude or aggressive
- The child is having difficulty adjusting to a new situation such as starting or moving schools
- Your child is having difficulty adjusting to or accepting a new family member (such as a sibling, step parent or step siblings)
- Any issues that you as a parent or caregiver are concerned about.
In order to effectively treat children, Leonie will need to conduct a thorough assessment. Below is the process she usually takes when giving children psychological treatment:
- In the first session: Leonie meets with the parents/caregivers, preferably without the child. This enables her to learn about the child’s current problems, their history, their development and early years (some of which is not appropriate to discuss in front of the child).
- The second session: involves the child, with Leonie learning about the current problems from the child’s perspective, and assessing their developmental level and thinking processes. Depending on the age of the child, this is often done through drawings, play and creative questions.
- In the third session: and any necessary further assessments, Leonie will formulate a preliminary and contextual understanding of the issue – that is, the problem for this child within their family and environment, and will discuss this with you, the parent or caregiver. Your child’s issues will differ from another child with similar problems because your child’s family and environment are unique and the formulation helps the psychologist tailor the treatment to your child specifically. This formulation is also not fixed – it will develop as Leonie works with your child and learns more about him or her.
Children learn through play, stories and actions, rather than traditional talking therapy. The most important part of therapy is that your child learns to trust the psychologist, and again, this takes time.
Leonie is able to bulk bill children clients from her Murdoch office. A gap fee applies in her Thornlie office.